It’s 2011. Share Your Culinary Resolutions!

by moderndomestic on January 2, 2011

Yes. Tartine Bread plays an important and delicious role in my New Years resolutions.

Looking back on my list of culinary resolutions for 2010, it looks so small and timid compared to what I actually did in 2010. I wanted to do things like make marshmallows, buttercream frosting, and switch my blog to a custom template – and instead I quit my office job, went to work for a bakery, took a 20 week pastry course, worked at a restaurant, and took a job as a pastry chef at a catering company. Not bad. Not bad at all.

My culinary resolutions for 2011 are a little simpler:

  • Practice cake decorating – so I’m comfortable using the cake turnstile and can properly ice a cake with smooth sides;
  • Start a farmer’s market or holiday market stand;
  • Make at least one more wedding cake;
  • Develop a super-awesome vegan brownie recipe;
  • Work in a retail establishment (I want to learn about the retail business);
  • Practice tempering chocolate – so I can successfully dip truffles without the cocoa butter separating out a day later;
  • Make my own wild yeast starter so I can make the breads from Tartine Bread (a supremely awesome Christmas present from my brother); and
  • Set up my Quickbooks account so I can successfully track my expenses and profit from my baking endeavors (not exactly a culinary resolution, but it’s related).

Here’s the progress I made on my 2010 resolutions:

  • Homemade marshmallows. Yup. Made them. Made so many of them for my cookie boxes I can’t even count.
  • Try my hand at candy making. I’m going to say yes. I made that sugar brittle stuff for the sides of Alison’s wedding cake – and I learned how to test sugar syrup for the soft ball stage with my bare hand.
  • Macarons (not to be confused with Macaroons). Yes, made them for Treet several times, made them in class, and made them at home.
  • Actually make a classic french buttercream frosting (yes, the one with the sugar syrup) that doesn’t dissolve into a puddle. Oh my lord, I made so many Swiss buttercreams at Treet I can’t even count. And I made Italian and French buttercreams in class and at home.
  • Try various laminated doughs: puff pastry, strudel, and croissants (my last attempt, while tasty, wasn’t quite perfect). Well, I didn’t make strudel dough, but we did a whole unit on laminated doughs in my pastry class.
  • Génoise. Again, I’m saying yes – we did a unit on sponge cakes in my pastry class, although we made biscuit rather than génoise.
  • Take a cake decorating class – so I can finally figure out how to make the sides of my frosted cakes perfectly smooth. Man, this class is like the best thing ever for New Year’s resolutions. We did a night on cake construction – and I assisted a cake decorating class at CulinAerie as well.
  • Get used to making bread and cakes using a kitchen scale (one of my Christmas presents to myself). Man, I only started using a scale a year ago? Seriously? Using it is so ingrained now that I can’t remember what it was like to only make things with volume measurement.
  • Make the cake on the cover of “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes” (another Christmas present). Okay, no, I didn’t do that.
  • Either take a class or regularly practice piping, since my piping skills are woefully underdeveloped. Yes! Totally did a bunch of rosette piping at Treet.
  • Buy cake strips (little strips of silicone to put around your cake pans that keep the heat from penetrating the side of the pan too quickly, resulting in flatter, more uniform cake layers). Again, bought and used.
  • Practice decorating cakes/cupcakes with fondant. Okay, haven’t done this.
  • Finally buy gel paste (a much more color-intensive way of tinting frosting than food coloring). Haven’t done this either – although they sell them at Target and I should really just bite the bullet and get them.
  • Finally go to Baked and Wired. (Still have not been!) Have been! I think I’ve been two or three times – I can’t remember, to be honest.

What are your culinary resolutions for 2011? And what resolutions did you knock off your list for 2010?

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Help! What Should I Name My Bread Starter? | ModernDomestic
January 17, 2011 at 11:44 pm

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan January 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Macarons are definitely on my list for this year… and gnocchi — I need to conquer them both. I made more homemade soups and breads last year which was one of my 2010 resolutions. And I made a number of complex cakes, but I want to keep working on my baking and techniques. Good luck with your goals!

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moderndomestic January 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Oh man. I love gnocchi. That is totally a good one to master. I also want to keep on working on techniques, but it’s hard when you don’t work at a bakery and you’re not doing it every day. Good luck! Would love to hear how the complex cakes come out.

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Rachel January 2, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I am in full support of your farmers market bake stand (let me know if you need a hand!), developing a vegan brownie recipe (how about a wheat-free one, too?), and cultivating a sourdough starter (my plans for one have been put on hiatus, because…)

My culinary goals for this year are more health-related, since I haven’t been feeling so well. As such, I plan on becoming a master gluten-free vegan baker! Inspiration: http://www.thespunkycoconut.com/2010/03/egg-free-grain-free-brownies-part-2.html and http://www.dietdessertdogs.com

Happy New Year!

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moderndomestic January 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Rachel, have you checked out the BabyCakes cookbook? It’s all recipes from the gluten-free, vegan bakery up in NYC and it looks like it has really good stuff. Your blog looks awesome – good luck with all your baking (and health) goals!

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Victoria (District Chocoholic) January 2, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Wow, you did a lot in 2010 – I’m impressed. And for your 2011 list, I really hope you can start a farmer’s market stand. That would be really neat.

My 2011 to-do list includes trying two yeast-based recipes and decorating something with modeling chocolate.

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Rebecca January 3, 2011 at 7:58 am

I don’t know if this counts as a culinary goal but I am aiming at cooking more, going out less and packing lunch for work so I don’t end up eating 1,000 calorie sandwiches from Panera et al.

I’m impressed that you met nearly all your goals. Way to go!

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moderndomestic January 3, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Nah, I think that’s totally a culinary resolution. Are Panera sandwiches good? I’ve never actually been in there, but it’s tempting (it smells really good when I walk by).

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@DCBrit January 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I can give you a reason for a wedding cake, Royal Wedding for the gays!

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moderndomestic January 3, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I WANT TO DO IT!!!!

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